At Micah’s invitation, we took off for a few days of camping, climbing, and slacklining in Squamish, British Columbia. 4 hours north of Seattle, Squamish has a great feel of remoteness. Adding to this was the fact that my cellphone provider wanted to charge me $1/minute to use my phone while in Canada; for the first time in a long while, I spent entire days with literally nothing in my pockets, a truly liberating feeling.

Squamish basecamp (info here) was as good as anything I could have expected. It sits between the water and the “Chief,” in a giant forest literally so peppered with erratics as to embarrass Los Angeles’ Stoney Point crag, and to give Joshua Tree a run for its money. Squamish has all of the bouldering of Jtree, with none of the driving from cluster-of-boulders to cluster-of-boulders, and granite that is so much more forgiving than Joshua quartz. Best of all, the basecamp has four 8ft-high telephone pylons setup for slacklines.

The pylons allow for 20-30ft lines, depending on how you rig. The only downsides are thus:

1: The entire area has a “bark chip” landing zone, which I suppose is more forgiving of falls than hardpacked dirt, but less forgiving for walking on with bare feet. I slack in La Sportivas, so this was less of an issue for me.

2: The pylons are slick, and if you basket a short (5-6′) sling around them, you’ll likely find it slipping if you walk to the ends, or do any kind of jumps/acrobatics. Even with a 10ft sling, there will be slippage if setup in basket. Configuring as choker (“girth hitch”) fixes this, but is something I dislike doing for various aesthetic and safety reasons.

SAFETY WARNING: for those of you who use line lockers, the image to the right was taken of a locker I found on a line in camp the night we arrived. I always check others’ rigging before jumping on a line (if the rigging is done by someone I don’t already know and trust), and I was a bit scared to find this. This line was literally one good bounce away from popping loose from the locker and ruining someone’s night. The owner of the line came over as I was taking these photos, and said it had originally been dressed properly and had 8″ of tail. Based on this statement, I’m going to proclaim that it’s a BadIdeaâ„¢ to use a locker (especially a chain link) with an asymmetrical, sharply angled ‘biner. I have never seen this issue before with round carabiners. If anyone has any other ideas as to what would cause this, please let me know.

Anyway, that pretty much wraps up the Squamish report for now. A bunch of random photos below. I highly recommend Squamish. Our stay was too short for any highlining, but it would be very possible to setup some midlines between boulders, or between trees that are accessible from the top of boulders. There’s a single shot of Shawn pursuing some Deep Water Solo problems that were listed in Gripped Magazine (google cache with article here).

1 Comment

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